Pallet Survey: The pulse on pallets

From wood to plastic to pallet pools, our readers tell us what’s important in pallets.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
November 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

New or used
One of the most significant changes in the pallet industry over the last two decades has been the domination of used wooden pallets in the 48 x 40-inch pallet market. Although precise records aren’t kept, some have estimated that used pallets account for 60% or more of that market. Modern’s readers are no different, although their responses give a more nuanced view.

Nearly 63% report that they rely on used pallets, also known as cores. Of those, 46% say they are purchasing more used pallets than they did a year before.

At the same time, 59% of readers are also using new pallets and nearly 47% expect to purchase more new pallets next year. In other words, it’s not an either/or world when it comes to new versus used.

The demand for new pallets is, at least in part, a response to the shortage of cores that has plagued the market in 2011.

Although 40% say they have not experienced any issues in procuring used pallets, a majority has been impacted. Readers report that the quality of used pallets has deteriorated (31%), that fewer pallets are available (21%) and that they have become more expensive (17%). Of those readers who have experienced price increases, 55% have seen a spike of 5% to 9%, and 22% have seen a spike of from 10% to 14%.

In addition to purchasing more new pallets, 22% of readers plan to create and manage their own pool of pallets or rent from a pallet pool (5%) such as those from CHEP, PECO and iGPS to cope with the shortage of cores.

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About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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